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Tickle Point

We're all familiar with the concept of Tipping Point, that point in a progression where one trajectory turns into another, cannot help but turn. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a bestseller about it. He spoke of mavens and connectors and social networks and transformation. Where word of mouth transformed unknowns into unforgettables. This posting isn't about Tipping Points.

Tipping Points are powerful, but iffy. No way to say for sure if your effort will result in a tip. This posting is about Tickle Points. Tickle Points are small things with powerful influence.

Even been to Schiphol airport? In the men's rooms there, each urinal has the image of a fly etched near the bottom of the bowl. This subtle bit of context architecture has reduced the amount of 'spashback' needing to be cleaned up. This without a single maven, connector, or clever 'we aim to please, so please aim' poster. The image of a fly works as a pee magnet. What boy could resist aiming at that alluring target? What boy worth his salt could miss?

Tickle Points are tiny nudges, guiding you where you probably prefer to go (excuse the expression) anyway. Where posters encourage disobedience, and process descriptions produce zzzzzzzs, Tickle Points gently nudge compliance into being.

Ever notice how no one ever cusses at grandma's table, though no one ever prohibits it? Grandma's table is a powerful context marker that renders the urge to cuss unthinkable, and so undoable.

In our process-obscessed culture, we miss this subtle point. The subtle cue speaks louder than words. And more meaningfully than even a maven's marveling. Look for the tickle points and change everything. Find me a feather and I'll change the world!

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